Get up, stand up…don’t give up the fight. Bob Marley’s classic just about sums up my first attendance of a stand-up comedy night at a venue more suited to the ‘I’m cool and I love my hukka crowd’.
I was looking forward to the experience because stand-up comedy as an art has always held me in fascination and it came as a surprise when I was told that this was a regular event in the town.
When I entered Mocha on Road no. 7, Banjara Hills, I swiftly discerned that I was in the midst of a gathering (contestants included), possibly in their 30s.
To my utter dislike and chagrin and as much as I hate to admit, I felt like an antique piece at the wrong place but at the right time. The show had barely started at half past eight and I bravely sat myself down only to be questioned by the guy holding center-stage, “sir, what do you do?” “I have come to judge the show, dammit,” is what I thankfully didn’t say. “I work”, was my gleeful repartee.
On another day, this guy would have chewed my guffaw alive but fortunately he was too busy building up the tempo and went on to introduce the first contestant. What followed was a mixed bag.
The last thing I would dare do is belittle any of the contestants’ earnest efforts but I must confess that the guys with very well-written stuff messed up their performances and the guys with not so very well scripted stuff managed to eke out the most laughs by sheer timing of their punch lines.
Most of the jokes were forthright vulgar and obscene and judging by the reaction of the audience, the theme of the night was, ‘the lewder- the better’. No claps for mundane or overtly loud stuff but full points for mimicry and originality.
While I came fully prepared to laugh and candidly admit that the first few acts did tickle my ribcage in generous measure, somewhere down the line I stopped for fear of being singled out as a ‘Navjot Siddhu’.
Quite astonishingly, even his repeated requests to get the crowd clapping couldn’t manage to get the devils their due even when they deserved it. I could merely sympathize with the participants. C’mon yaar, agreed that hukka and coffee don’t provide the same kick as alcohol but I was convinced beyond doubt that had this show been conducted post a daaru party, the same crowd sans their inhibitions would have laughed much more.
The fact that there wasn’t a single lady stand-up artiste (till the time I was there) also may have contributed to time-induced boredom and fatigue.
My time told me that I had spent almost an hour and before the repetitive monotony of the word ‘cricket’ and a variety of four letter words could erase the smile off my face, I decided to slink out; smug and satisfied.
Well done, ‘Hyderabadass Comedy Club (hyderabadasscomedy.com)’. You guys are doing the society a yeoman service. This city is better off with more smiles than its miles. Please keep up the good work....